18 Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

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If you want to reduce your grocery costs, these tips are for you! These practical strategies can help you stretch your grocery budget further without compromising the quality of your meals.

You’ll be able to reduce your expenses, minimize food waste, and still enjoy delicious and nutritious meals for you and your family.

Grocery bag full of food on kitchen counter

Create a Budget and Plan Ahead

Knowing how much you can spend on groceries each month will help you make informed decisions when shopping. Consider the size of your household, dietary restrictions, and preferences when setting your budget.

1. Analyze Your Current Spending Habits

Take a close look at your past grocery receipts or bank statements to determine how much you typically spend on groceries. Think about how much you want to reduce that amount.

This will give you a starting point for creating a realistic budget.

2. Meal Planning

Impulse shopping is the enemy of a good budget. Meal planning is a crucial step in saving money on groceries. By planning your meals in advance, you can avoid impulse purchases and make more efficient use of ingredients before they go bad.

Start by creating a weekly or monthly meal plan based on your budget and the ingredients you already have at home. If you are dealing with other adults in the home who don’t cooperate, explain to them why it’s important.

3. Make a Shopping List

Once you have your meal plan ready, make a detailed shopping list before heading to the store. Stick to your list as much as possible to avoid buying unnecessary items.

Tip:

Remember to check your pantry and fridge to see if you already have some of the ingredients on hand. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying things you already have! Or forgetting to buy a crucial ingredient you’re out of to make one of your planned meals.

Shop Strategically

Smart shopping strategies can make a significant difference in your grocery bill.

4. Compare Prices, But Don’t Shop Sales

Take advantage of sales and discounts by checking weekly circulars or using online price comparison tools. Compare prices between different stores in your area and consider shopping at discount supermarkets or wholesale clubs for bulk purchases.

Once you have an idea which stores consistently have better pricing, shop at those stores. But why do I say not to shop sales?

5. Instead of Shopping Sales, Do This

Most sales aren’t for you, the customer. They’re for the brands and the stores. They help them to offload products they have too much or, or sell you impulse items at a discount that isn’t really worth it for you.

Instead, buy generic store brands instead of name brands. That’s like a sale every day for those items.

6. Don’t Let Coupons Lead You Astray

Again, coupons are like sales: they discount name brands a little, when you could buy a generic for far less. Only use coupons if you would have bought that name brand item anyway.

7. Loyalty Programs

Sign up for loyalty programs at your favorite grocery stores to earn rewards or discounts on future purchases. Most give you significant savings.

Yes, even on grocery delivery.

If you use grocery delivery like Instacart, you can probably still add your loyalty card number into the app and get those discounts.

And if you’re wondering why I’d mention grocery delivery in a money saving post: it’s the best option for some disabled people and others in situations where going to the grocery store would be a hardship.

8. Buy Generic or Store Brands

As I’ve already mentioned, always give the store brands and generic lines a chance. Generics are made by the same factories that make the brand names. My household has enjoyed generics for years, and with few exceptions, they taste as good, nearly as good, or even better than name brands.

On those rare occasions when generics aren’t as good – or they’re sold out – we do go ahead and buy the name brands. But the more you shop generic, the more you save.

9. Avoid Impulse Purchases

Stay focused on your shopping list and avoid impulse purchases. Retailers often strategically place tempting items near the checkout counters, so be mindful of your spending habits and stick to your plan.

Believe it or not: this is where grocery delivery can actually save you money. If you can’t break the impulse spending habit, using a grocery delivery app forces you to stick to a list. I’ve actually been known to save enough money on impulse items to afford delivery fees.

10. Shop in Bulk for Non-Perishable Items

Buying non-perishable items in bulk can save you money in the long run. Staples such as rice, pasta, canned goods, and cleaning supplies can often be purchased in larger quantities for a lower unit price.

Just don’t get sucked in to buying an amount your household can’t eat in a year. Sometimes it sounds like such a good bargain, but think of anything that goes uneaten as wasted money.

11. Look for Markdowns and Reduced-Freshness Items

Many grocery stores have sections dedicated to discounted items that are close to their expiration dates but are still perfectly safe to eat. Take advantage of these markdowns for items like bread, meat, and produce that can be used immediately or frozen for future use.

Unlike sales, markdowns really can work for both you and the store.

12. Shop Seasonally and Locally

Purchase fruits and vegetables that are in-season as they tend to be more affordable and fresher. Consider visiting local farmers’ markets or joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program to support local growers while getting fresh produce at reasonable prices.

Reduce Food Waste

Minimizing food waste not only helps the environment but also saves you money.

13. Proper Storage

Learn how to store different types of food properly to extend their shelf life. Keep fruits and vegetables in the designated compartments of your refrigerator, store dry goods in airtight containers, and freeze items that you won’t consume before their expiration dates.

14. Repurpose Leftovers

Rather than throwing away leftovers, get creative and find ways to repurpose them into new dishes. Turn yesterday’s roast chicken into a flavorful stir-fry or transform cooked vegetables into a hearty soup.

By reinventing leftovers, you’ll save money while enjoying diverse meals.

15. Practice First-In-First-Out (FIFO)

When organizing your pantry and refrigerator, adopt the first-in-first-out principle. Place new groceries behind older ones, ensuring that you use up older items before they expire.

Cook at Home

Preparing meals at home can be far more cost-effective than eating out. Follow these suggestions to make cooking at home an enjoyable experience:

16. Learn Basic Cooking Skills

Invest time in learning basic cooking skills such as chopping vegetables, seasoning meat, and following recipes. The more confident you become in the kitchen, the more money you’ll save by avoiding expensive pre-packaged meals.

17. Embrace Batch Cooking and Freezing

Cooking in larger quantities allows you to freeze individual portions for future meals. This technique is especially useful for busy individuals who don’t have time to cook every day. Simply defrost and reheat when needed, saving both time and money.

18. Pack Lunches and Snacks

Prepare homemade lunches and snacks instead of buying expensive pre-packaged options. Not only will this save you money, but it will also give you control over the ingredients and portion sizes.

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Last Updated:

April 22, 2024